Monday, June 13, 2016

From Arizona to Texas and Back

At the Juko Kai Hombu in New Braufels - Hanshi Kirby
Roy (R) and me (L). 
On June 3rd, 2016, Dr. Neal Adam (Kyoshi/7th dan) and I drove 2,200 miles (round trip) from Gilbert Arizona to New Braunfels Texas to attend the annual Juko Kai International clinic taught by living legend Dai-Soke Sacharnoski. Since about 1992, I have been attending these clinics each year as well as many of the kobudo and kobujutsu clinics offered by Dai Soke. 

We arrived in New Braunfels about 11:30 pm (Texas time) and the next morning rose in time to drink a pot of coffee and then head to the New Braunfels Convention center to see many of my old friends in the martial arts and then to begin training in many combat techniques and finger joint lock restraints. I wish I could have video taped many of the finger locks as they looked extremely painful and I doubt there is anyone in the world who has mastered these techniques as well as Dai Soke. It’s always very rewarding to see everyone in Juko Kai, and to get time to train with my instructor. 

To get to the clinic, we left the Phoenix East Valley on June 3rd at 6 am and returned to the Phoenix heat late Sunday afternoon. The New Braunfel's temperatures were in the 60s when we left, and we were smacked in the face by soaring 115oF temperatures when we returned to Phoenix. But I must say, it didn’t feel any warmer than the chromosphere of the sun. Luckily, only a few parts on Neal’s truck melted. Unfortunately one was the cruise control and the other was the air conditioner.

After the clinic, we had another good week of training at the Arizona Hombu dojo. We have a wonderful group of people that includes nearly 50% female. On Tuesday night, June 7th we trained in karate kata focusing on the traditional katas known as pinan nidan and pinan sandan as well as some bunkai. The bunkai are practical applications - or street practical defenses that are either obvious in the kata, or hidden in kata. After the karate classes ended, Suzette and Rihanna tested for rank and both did good. In the second class, we trained mostly in rohai and okan (wankan sho) kata

On Wednesday afternoon karate & kobudo, 5 brown belt students from Gilbert and Mesa continued with their shodan test. Rick, Janel, Tyler, Harmony and Dennis trained in Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, and Tonfa Shodan and many bunkai and all did very well in this part of the test. Next week, they will test in Pinan Yondan and Tonfa Nidan and bunkai.

Wednesday evening, some of our students trained in self-defense and focused on continuous bunkai (practical applications) from pinan godan and moved on to tanto (Japanese knife), manrikigusari (chain) and keychain self-defense. In continuous bunkai, we take one particular application from kata and let the defender defend attacks using that waza (technique) in kata. They were then asked to finish each defense with a group of arm bars or throws after they first block and strike. This is designed to build muscle memory.

Suzette and Rihanna were presented certification of rank for yonkyu (2nd green) at the beginning of Thursday’s class. Being that it was Kobudo night the class focused on the first of six nunchaku kata and some bunkai from kata. Luckily, only one nunchaku broke during bunkai. This was followed by bo training. We finished the week with the samurai class by training in iaido - the art of the samurai sword.

Before each class, I said a silent prayer for my sister in law, Sensei Bill and also Senpai Regina who have health concerns. It was a typical week at the Arizona Hombu dojo.

God Bless!